Deshaun Thomas scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and No. 4 Ohio State beat Rhode Island 69-58 in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament in Connecticut on Saturday.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. added 15 points, Aaron Craft had 13 points and four assists for the Buckeyes (2-0) who struggled with the Rams (0-3) well into the second half.
Xavier Munford had 16 points to lead Rhode Island, which trailed by just four at halftime.
The Rams were down just six when Craft hit a 3-point shot that bounced around the rim and in with 6:45 left and then stole the ball on the other end of the court.
FINAL: Deshaun Thomas scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lift No. 4 Ohio State to a 69-58 win over Rhode Island on Saturday at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Naismith.
A run lasting across the halftime break allowed Ohio State (2-0) to grab the advantage. The Buckeyes trailed 26-23 with 2:21 left in the first half, but a 13-2 run allowed them to take an eight-point lead early in the second half.
Ohio State was hot from long range, hitting 8-of-19 threes for a 42 percent night from beyond the arc. The Buckeyes were able to secure second chance opportunities, grabbing 14 offensive boards. More Ohio State scoring came from Aaron Craft, who scored 13 and Lenzelle Smith, Jr., who scored 15.
Nikola Malesevic contributed 11 points, hauled in six rebounds, and made 5-of-6 shots from the floor for Rhode Island (0-3) in the loss. The Rams were on fire from beyond the arc during the game, shooting 40 percent (8-of-20). Rhode Island also got double-digit contributions from Mike Powell, who scored 10, Andre Malone, who scored 11, and Xavier Munford, who scored 16.
Winning the rebounding battle was a key to victory for Ohio State as it outrebounded the Rams 34-21.
HALFTIME: No. 4 Ohio State took full advantage of the stellar combination of Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, ending the first half against Rhode Island up 30-26. Thomas scored eight points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Craft scored 10 points and had four assists.
The Rams were leading 26-23 before they allowed the Buckeyes to make a late 7-0 run and take a lead into the half.
Ohio State controlled the boards, outrebounding Rhode Island 17-11 in the first half. Seven Ohio State players have scored.
The Buckeyes were able to put the clamps on Rhode Island’s leading scorer, Xavier Munford. Sitting with three points, the junior is far below his 16 per game average this year. Nikola Malesevic will have to be careful, as he already has three fouls and he’s been the best player on the court for the Rams thus far. In the first 20 minutes, Malesevic scored seven points, grabbed three rebounds, and shot 3-of-4 from the field.
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